Friday, August 17, 2007

"I Waited Patiently"

Have you ever felt like you were in a slimy pit and you just couldn’t get out? So many people today are discouraged, depressed, stressed and dejected. I have known that feeling several times in my life. Sometimes life just piles up on you. Sometimes someone you love or counted on lets you down. Sometimes you get that phone call that explodes your world into a million pieces. It may be your marriage, or your finances, or an illness, or a death in the family. But there you are, again, staring up from the bottom of a deep, black pit of slime. What do you do?

David wrote a psalm for people looking up from that pit. In Psalm 40, David tells us that he had fallen into a slimy pit. Perhaps it was when Saul was chasing him or when Absalom turned on him. Maybe it was when he was feeling the pain and guilt of his own failure with Bathsheba. The psalm does not identify the pit. David just tells us that he was up to his neck in it, in what he called the “pit of destruction.”

What I find interesting is what he did to get out of the bog. “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.” He waited. HE WAITED! Didn’t he know he was supposed to put feet to his prayers? Didn’t he know that God helps those who help themselves? He waited. He just waited.

Here’s the amazing part. He waited and God acted. God lifted him up, set his feet on a solid rock and put a new song in his heart. In a time of depression and discouragement, he waited on God and God did not let him down.

I am so impatient. The microwave is too slow heating my food. Stop lights seem to last minutes. I hate to stand in line.

And David tells me to “wait patiently” for God to act when I am in a pit of destruction? Absurd. When we hit the slimy pit, we want to change something. A new job. A new church. A new spouse. We want to escape from life, to get out of the pit. The temptation is to take action based on our emotions, our wisdom, our reason. We strike back at those who hurt us. We run away from our circumstances. We become angry and bitter.

Not King David. He tried something unique; counterintuitive to human nature. He called out to God and waited patiently for God to act. How long did he wait? Who knows? Noah waited 100 years after God promised a flood for the rains to start. Abraham waited 25 years for the promised child. Abraham waited until he was 80 to begin the work he was destined for. Faith is waiting patiently for God to do what he said he would do.

It is not inactive or lazy to wait on God. Waiting on God means we continue in obedience and service to him regardless of what life throws at us. Waiting just means that I do not try to fix everything, or balance the books, or make everything come out okay. I do what God wants and wait for him to make everything right.

Look at what God does when we call out to him for help. He lifts us up, sets our feet on solid rock, and gives us a song of joy in our hearts. That’s his job. Your job is to call out to him in your distress, and to wait patiently for his answer.

There is no question as to whether God will do his work. He will respond to the needs of his children, set us on a solid foundation and put his joy in our hearts. He will be faithful. The only question is whether you and I will call out to him, and wait patiently for his work.

Wait patiently, don’t get angry. Wait patiently, don’t lash out. Wait patiently, don’t despair. Wait patiently, don’t devise a fleshly scheme. Wait patiently on the Lord. He’s listening!

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